National Business Review: Regionalist Artist Captures Audience

The National Business Review, John Daly-Peoples. ‘Regionalist Artist Captures Audience with Ethereal Landscapes’.  Grahame Sydney inhabits a strange position within the New Zealand art scene. He has been a successful and prolific artist for over 25 years and now commands high prices ($30,000-50,000) for his works and has enough commissions to last him for several years to come.

His work, however, is rarely seen, with only one dealer gallery show in Auckland the past 15 years…He is often marginalised because he is a regional painter on the edge of the known art world. Now internationally, it is often those artists on the edge, the boundary riders, who are being included in the definitions of contemporary art.

Sydney’s great achievement is not in his realistic depiction of the landscape but his ability to convey its spiritual, ethereal and historical dimensions. While his paintings are generally without people and only occasionally with some sign of habitation or man’s intrusion into the environment there is always a sense of narrative, of a before or an after to the event we are witnessing.

The landscapes with their road signs and intersections speak of a splendid loneliness and emptiness but also of a future about to unfold like the scene from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in which Cary Grant stands alone on the road by the silent wheat fields.